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My hosting company made some change in their hardware and now suddenly all wordpress sites hosted on that machine (some are mine, others aren't) are getting "HTTP errors" and "name lookup timed out" when trying to read external stuff like RSS feeds. It affects Wordpress's ability to search for plugins but it also affects spam filters like Akismet. The errors started the same day as the hosting company got a new firewall but they insist this particular machine is not behind said firewall.

It's really annoying and while the hosting company is working on finding the cause, they've not been able to as of yet so I thought I'd ask here.

I've confirmed that this affects ALL the wordpress sites on server including those that aren't ours so this absolutely has to be a problem on the hosting end. What on earth could it be?

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Correlation is not causation, but that new firewall is very suspicious, despite what the hosting company says. –  Andrew Lambert Mar 4 '12 at 9:02

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This happens when your server cannot reach it's name servers anymore. This is very likely related to the firewall change. Talk to them.

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